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Producers' Corner With The Prototypes: Building The Synth From 'Don't Let Me Go'

Hey guys! We are The Prototypes, and we are here to talk about the main synth lead from our brand new single 'Don't Let Me Go' Feat Amy Pearson. It was obviously a huge pleasure for us to work on a track with a super sick vocalist like Amy Pearson, so when it came to finishing the track it was important that the rest of the tune really supported her amazing vocals.

We really wanted the main piano-synth lead on the track (the one that comes in after 32 bars) to be something that connects with the crowd and gets their hands up. After coming up with the chords that we felt invoked this atmosphere, it was just a matter of finding the right sounds and putting them together.

Step One: Synths

We used 3 layers of Zebra2 for this lead - It would have been easy to load up another plug-in like Nexus and use a preset from its bank, but Zebra2 really has a nice character to it. Zebra2 has such a big, wide, and deep feel to it that we don't think we would have found the same character in any other synth.

There are two parts that make up the bulk of the sound - the first part being quite a direct monophonic lead, and the second part being a softer, detuned cord that runs underneath.

Step Two: Layer Building

Zebra One (Mono Saw Wave)

Mono, or Monophonic, in very basic terms dictates that you can only play one note at a time. If you tried to play multiple notes, for example in a chord, you would only hear one of those notes. This has its benefits, such as when you're making a lead that needs to sound cutting and solid. However, some solid leads will phase with each other and lose there impact when they are played on two or more notes at a time.

For this synth line itself, it really just came down to playing a melody that sat nicely on top of the chords played underneath. The Oscillator we used is Zebra's "Quad Pulse Wave," which sounded really big once the 'width' knob on the Oscillator was turned up.

Zebra Two

This sound was much more of a soft, wider sound that backed up or "thickened" the main lead above it. For this sound, we used two Oscillators set to the 'Dual Pulse Wave" setting. Once again, the width on Oscillator 1 was turned up just under half way, however this time Oscillator 2 was also turned up all the way to create the thick and wide "weight" underneath the first lead. We also de­tuned the Oscillators to make the sound softer and wider.

Zebra Three

Plain and simple, the third synth was just a basic sine wave that reinforced the bottom end of the chord.


Once we had all of our individual sounds, we grouped  Lead One and Two together and added an EQ using Fabfilter Pro, bringing the tops in a little bit and cutting the sound above 19Khz.

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